Christmas has come early for one Christchurch cat owner whose beloved family pet disappeared without a trace seven years ago.
Charline Dempsey had long ago accepted that her now 15-year-old tortoise shell named Angel would never come home.
That is, until she recieved an unexpected call from the SPCA.
Rebecca Dobson of the SPCA says the cat was being scanned for a microchip when the team noticed she already had one.
“So they put it into the system, unfortunately the details weren't up to date."
The cat's address was old and the phone number didn't work.
“But luckily one of our amazing customer services team had a look on the file and recognised the name,” Dobson said.
In a strange coincidence, Dempsey had been at the SPCA just the week before getting her new cat chipped.
“Wow, like got off the phone started tearing up, like choking up then ran to my daughter and was like I think they found Angel.:
Angel and Dempsey’s daughter grew up together, and the cat’s return falls perfectly for their upcoming birthdays.
“There's only two months between my daughter and Angel,” she says.
“It’s cool to have her back just before both their 16th birthdays.”
Although Angel found her way home, not every story has a happy ending.
The SPCA says the incident is a reminder for New Zealanders to have their pets microchipped, and keep their registration details up to date.
“We estimate around 40 per cent of households in New Zealand have cats but only about 49 per cent of those animals are actually microchipped and registered,” Dobson said.
“They're so important that if they do go wandering we can get them home as soon as possible.”